Inside Out Blog

Don’t Let the Past Consume You: Ten Ways to Forgive and Let Go

Everyone faces a time in his or her life where there is anger and a need for forgiveness. It may be a family member, friend, or co-worker who has hurt you. How do you forgive someone when you find that forgiveness is very difficult? These tips can give you some food for thought.  
 
Remember your best memories of him or her. If you are motivated, you can even write these memories down and present them to the person. This sometimes opens up some communication. 
 
Spend your time thinking forward instead of backward. Concentrate your mental energy on good projects and events that are to come rather than rehashing painful memories over and over.  
 
Ask forgiveness for your own wrong choices or responses. Asking for forgiveness gives you a way to understand more those who need your forgiveness.  
 
Realize that forgiving doesn’t always mean change. If you are forgiving someone only to make them change, understand that it may not happen. Be ready to forgive for your sake rather than to make someone else act differently. 
 
Start small and practice forgiving. If you have trouble with forgiveness, try forgiving others for the small offense you receive each day. Put that behind you and work on developing a habit of forgiving.  
 
Understand that forgiveness is not a moment, but a process. You may not be able to let go of everything all at once, but you can begin to forgive. Renew your commitment to forgive over and over until you find a more peaceful state.  
 
Know that forgiving does not mean condoning. You don’t have to expect that the person who has hurt you won’t experience some negative consequences from his or her actions. Forgiving also does not mean that you are saying that you were not hurt. You just need to know that you have forgiven the person.  
 
Be kind to yourself once you’ve decided to forgive. You will still have those memories, but thinking about what happened doesn’t mean you haven’t forgiven. It is normal to relive events, but you can put it all in a different perspective when you have chosen forgiveness. 
 
Get a trusted confidant. It doesn’t help to gossip about someone who has hurt you, but keeping everything inside is not good for you either. Your spouse, a trusted friend, a therapist, or a spiritual counselor can help you vent without causing any further hurt. You may then find an easier path to forgiveness. 
 
Find a way out. It may be that you are not able to forgive until your life circumstances change. If the situation is so difficult or you are continually being mistreated, you may need to leave that situation. It can be hard to consider ending a relationship or looking for a new job, but in some cases, this can be the beginning of a new start and can help you go down the path of forgiveness. 
At Communities at Arbor Vista Apartments in Adelphi, Maryland, we believe it’s important to live life vigorously. In order to do so, you must educate yourself regularly with lifestyle-enhancing tips such as these. With this blog post, we seek to improve your way of life through education that promotes self-care.

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